Photo Fun at Disneyland and #DisneySMMoms

June 3, 2014

It’s no secret that I’m a Disney fan. In fact, it runs in the family. But, you probably knew that already. What’s been so much fun is that it seems now more than ever so many of our many Disney paths are coming together. I can’t help but envision the Hub at Disneyland. In case you don’t know that story, all roads within Disneyland lead to the hub. Yep. It feels kinda like that. Disney people, places, events, opportunities have been popping up like hidden Mickeys. It feels, in a word, magical.

For one thing, I’m really looking forward to getting to share my passion for photography at the soon-coming Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Celebration in Phoenix.  I honestly can’t think of two things that go together any better than photography and Disney. Which got me thinking. What is it about Disney (more specifically the Disney Parks) that makes it so much fun to get ridiculously snap happy? Let’s see…the key word here has got to be happy. The Disney Parks are quite simply, my family’s happy place.

Being So Cal natives (yes, 99% of my family and extended family lives here) certainly works to our advantage when it comes to visiting the Disney Parks. Which means, we’re there a lot. And we’re taking more pictures than we know what to do with. And why not? Nothing could be more fun to capture than magic and make-believe! Am I right?

To celebrate the kick-off of the Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Events this summer, I thought I’d share a few of my Favorite Phone Photographs from Disneyland, plus a few words on the shots that might inspire you to shoot more on your next visit! Bonus: Over at Disney Sisters, we’re sharing phone photos captured at Disney California Adventure. Just because, we love both parks so much!

The Iconic Shot

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland

True, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle has been photographed a gazillion times but you gotta get the shot! I have noticed that shooting it almost every visit, there are always external variables that change the way it looks. In this case, I was lucky to have some interesting clouds to add some drama. Capturing it from inside of Fantasy Land (instead of from Main Street) brings a little something unique.

On a Ride

Autopia Ride at Disneyland

It’s not always easy to capture a moving target. In other words, ride shots aren’t always that easy. In this case, we pulled up at the end of riding Autopia, waiting in the traffic (it is So Cal afterall) and as the car began a slight curve, I was able to call to my daughter so she’d peek her head out. The cars were still so I could capture a prefect moment of her very first solo-ride on Autopia. Focusing on her happy face turned what could have been a regular snapshot into something a little more special.

Sweet Treats

Dole Whip at Disneyland Park

After all these years of visiting Disneyland, I can’t recall ever getting a Dole Whip. That was, until recently. Now, I’m hooked.  When it comes to capturing a shot like this, I wanted the main focus to be the treat itself (which it is because of the cropping) but my favorite part of the shot is my daughter’s smirk. So began our Dole Whip love affair.

Timeless

Main Street Disneyland

Rarely would you consider processing pictures from a trip to Disneyland into Black & White but in this case, the monochromatic pallet made for some good old fashioned Disney magic. My daughter’s high tops against the texture of the Main Street grate helped up the classic factor.

 

Night Shots

King Arthur Carrousel at Disneyland Park

Disneyland at night is fill of wonder.  The way the park is lit up at night will make anyone a believer. I have such good luck shooting night shots with my iPhone, I never hesitate trying my hand at capturing a magical glow. From the glow of dusk to the darkness of late night, photos of Disneyland at night are some of my all time favorites. In this case, I choose to blur the lights with the selective focus tool in Instagram. It gave it just the effect I was after.

Giveaway time:

Phone Photography Project givaway

Now for some more fun! All you need to do is leave a comment here on this post, sharing your favorite Disney photo subject  (could be anything) and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win a spot in the online summer photo class The Phone Photography Project and a copy of Elevate the Everyday: A Photographic Guide to Motherhood. If you love taking pictures as much as I do, you will LOVE the class and the book.

You have until Sunday 6/8 midnight PT to enter. I’ll announce winner on Monday. YAY!

I did mention that Disney Sisters are sharing photos too, right? Go check them out. They’re rad. My sisters and their pictures!

 

Updated 6/10: Congratulations Stephanie! You won the spot in class and a copy of Elevate the Everyday!


Another Bird Story

May 26, 2014

Western Bluebird Babies

Last year, about this time, I was enjoying keeping tabs on a hummingbird nest in our backyard. It became a highlight of my season for so many reasons. Although once the babies flew (or more like burst) the coop, the nest deteriorated and has not been rebuilt or re-inhabited, we have had a new species appear. For the first time since we’ve lived in this house, a family of Western Bluebirds have moved in. A birdhouse that has hung vacant for over 10 years is now being put to good use.

Meet mama:

Mama Bluebird

Meet papa:
Papa Bluebird
Both parents are working tireless around the clock to keep the family nurtured and nourished and are very protective (hence the daily dive-bombings from Papa aimed at our dogs and even us, depending on how close we get).  From what I can tell, there’s at least 3 small mouths to feed, maybe more.

I think I’ll be treating myself to another lens rental again for the joyous occasion. That said, I’m pretty sure there will be more photos to follow.


In Response to Reality Reframed

May 13, 2014

When it comes to blogging (or almost anything else for that matter) you never know when something you put out there might resonate with people. Beauty, joy, excitement, adventure? Resources, contacts, discounts, giveaways? Lessons, insights, advice, inspiration? Different things speak to different people. There’s no telling what exactly might catch someone’s eye, spark action, or deeply move someone but I can say (from experience) that authenticity is a good start. Brené Brown says that “Authenticity…is about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” (From The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are) And this is exactly what made me choose to share my first Reality Reframed post with words AND pictures. I just wanted to tell/show the truth.

So, if it’s about truth, then why not just show the reality? Why bother with the reframed? For me, the reframed is just as true and authentic as the reality because it captures how I choose to see my life and then use my camera lens to transform something that might seem unsightly into something beautiful. It’s a process that has become a practice and it keeps me hopeful and grateful. So, in a way, I can’t really show one without the other.

But, even with the reframe, hitting publish wasn’t/isn’t exactly easy. It’s never easy to share, let alone publish, something that makes you feel vulnerable. Admitting my clutter trouble here and there has been pretty  liberating, but it still doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with feeling overly-exposed. Never the less, the response I’ve gotten from sharing my reality and my reframe has been so positive (encouraging, comforting, kind, supportive) it is actually helping diminish the shame I’ve carried around with all my other “stuff”. I hope that by continuing to be honest, I might help others feel free to do the same. When it comes to this crazy, messy, cluttered (aka authentic) life, it’s always nice to know we’re not alone.

Reality Reframed boxed to beauty

Reality Reframed a tipping point

Reality Reframed table top tray

 

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel to share (post links, pictures, etc). Here’s to more truth telling!


Day in the Life

May 9, 2014

Journey indeed! A Day in the Life May 2014

I’m always excited by the images I take when participating in project like Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life. I think it must be a combination of having an “assignment” to complete, being challenged creatively and mixing things up a bit that helps makes the magic. I decided to tote my DSLR around with me yesterday, which in and of itself is something I haven’t done in a while. Sometimes I forget how much I love my 50mm Compact Macro lens. *insert dreamy sigh* When processing the images, I opted to convert the entire day’s story into black and white. I just wanted to do something a little different. I’m pleased with the results and am so grateful I did it. The shots I take for Day in the Life or Week in the Life are images I wouldn’t normally take without the encouragement from projects like these. Although I shoot a lot…A LOT…sometimes you just need a little something extra to inspire you. Disclaimer: I haven’t ever actually printed or Project Life’d the shots I’ve taken for DITL or WITL but I’m working up to the idea. After all, I’ve started with Project Life finally so it’s the natural next step.

Here’s what my day looked like yesterday (and most days):

01 Morning Day in the Life May 2014

02 Lunches Day in the Life May 2014

03 Dogs Day in the Life May 2014

04 Day in the Life May 2014

05 Day in the Life May 2014

07 Day in the Life May 2014

07a Day in the Life May 2014

08 Day in the Life May 2014

06 Day in the Life May 2014

09 Day in the Life May 2014

10 Day in the Life May 2014

11 Day in the Life May 2014

12 Day in the Life May 2014

13 Day in the Life May 2014

I told myself I would shoot the whole day and I did. Yes, it’s true that the last shot I captured was of the pizza boxes. After getting up, making lunches, getting the kids up and out the door even earlier than usual (my daughter had an early AP test), walking the dogs, getting my own work done, printing pictures, making Mother’s Day cards, picking kids up, getting more of my own work done (although it’s never really done), playing in a parents vs. kids soccer scrimmage (oh, yes I did), we had pizza for dinner and I promptly fell asleep on the couch, watching the Duck’s game (we won!). True story.

Have you ever committed to take pictures of your life from sunrise to sunset? Were you surprised at the kinds of magically mundane moments you captured? It certainly is a fantastic way to Elevate the Everyday, don’t you think?


Breaking Barriers (and Other Things my Grandfathers Done)

May 7, 2014

When I tell people that my grandfather is a hot rod legend, I get a lot of curious looks. Legend? Hot rods? I know, it is curious. When people—in the ‘hot rodding’ know—ask his name, they are floored.

It’s a funny thing growing up hearing stories about your grandparent’s lives; it’s hard to imagine that they have a life outside of being (in my case) “Papa”. Fast forward to hearing these stories now as an adult and they take on a whole new meaning. When it comes to my grandfather Alex Xydias (Papa Alex) our family has been fortunate enough to have many of his stories documented for us. From articles to books, TV shows to documentaries, his inspiring story has been told in so many ways. And what’s even more lucky is that at 92 years old, he is still sharing stories—hell, he is still driving his roadster—AND is able to enjoy all accolades he deserves. Founder of the So Cal Speed Shop (1946), first to break 200 mph land speed record, film maker (The Hot Rod Story), etc. etc, “our Papa’s famous”, my girls like to brag. Indeed.

Photo of movie poster by my sister Jessica Fuselier

Photo of movie poster by my sister Jessica Fuselier

Tonight at 8pm on Nat Geo Channel the new documentary Breaking Barriers airs. My grandfather is one of the 3 incredibly inspiring men being featured in this movie that goes way beyond racing cars. My family and I had the privilege of seeing an early screening at the Petersen Automotive Museum the other night so I am confident when I say that Breaking Barriers is about passion, determination, creativity, courage and drive (pun intended).

Sponsored by Pennzoil, created by the Bandito Brothers, hosted by Tim McGraw and featuring Alex Xydias, Craig Breedlove, John Hennessey, Breaking Barriers is a fantastic film about the magic that can happen when you pour your heart and soul into something you believe in.